Jays Journal's Top 30 Blue Jays Prospects - 2024 Update

Orelvis Martinez
Orelvis Martinez / Mark Brown/GettyImages
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12. Juaron Watts-Brown- N/A (Previous Rank: 10)
21 y.o / RHP / SP

My opinion of Watts-Brown has not fundamentally changed since the last list. He is a great athlete on the mound with a prototypical pitching frame and the Jays may feel they can get significantly more velocity out of him. His fastball got hit hard in college at 92 MPH despite having around 19 inches of induced vertical break. There is framework here if he can command it better and add some velocity. Watts-Brown's future as a starter or reliever rides on his ability to get his fastball to play but the true gem of his arsenal is his slider. He used it a lot against hitters of both handedness and it had a huge 53% whiff rate. His 12-6 curveball shows quality too. It can miss bats thanks to its depth and he can use it to throw hitters off his slider and steal strikes. Watts-Brown mixes in a changeup that has the potential to be average and could become important as he looks to cut down his home run rate. His Achilles heel with Oklahoma State was his control and command. He walked too many batters and didn't locate his pitches well enough to keep them off barrels. The Jays taking him with their 2nd pick indicates that they have faith he can improve in this area and become a starter at the big league level.

11. Landen Maroudis- N/A (Previous Rank: 12)
19 y.o / RHP / SP

The Blue Jays appeared to be drafting off my board when they went over-slot for Maroudis in the fourth round who I identified as a target for them in the 3rd round. He is yet to pitch professionally but the off-season noise has been very encouraging. Part of what makes Maroudis exciting is all of the velocity jump indicators in his profile. He continues to fill out his projectable 6"3 frame and is a great athlete who is dropping the two-way player gig and focusing only on pitching. He was sitting 92-93 MPH with his fastball and it wouldn't be a shock for that to be 94-96 MPH as soon as this year. With good life and an uphill plane, it could easily grow into a plus pitch for him. Maroudis throws an advanced changeup for a prepster, it has the sink and fading action you look for. His breaking ball quality is what will be the biggest hurdle. He has used a slider and curveball and I'd expect the Jays to lean on his slider and work on getting more consistent depth on it to put away hitters. It's notoriously difficult to project the strike-throwing of high school arms but Maroudis looks the part and has typical starter traits with his command and arsenal. The odds of a Tiedemann-level ascent for Maroudis are low but their profiles on draft day were quite similar once you look past the difference in handedness: both had low 90s fastballs, both had an average at best breaking ball, both had advanced changeups, both had ideal frames with great athleticism and the potential for more velocity.